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07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

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07.19 Fox News’s star names excuse the inexcusable after Trump's latest racist attack

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

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07.19 Are progressives working on a climate plan for 2021? You bet.

07.19 The 51 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's repugnant North Carolina rally

07.19 The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’

07.18 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security

07.18 Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California

07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]

07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]

07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]

07.18 "Can't Change a Corrupt System by Taking Its Money": Sanders Urges All 2020 Democrats to Reject Insurance, Big Pharma Cash [49:02 video w/ lousy sound]

07.17 Why Democrats’ oversight machine is moving so slowly against Trump

07.17 Here's the real reason Trump is attacking 'the squad': he's scared of their politics

07.17 'Good,' Says Elizabeth Warren, After Billionaire Right-Winger Peter Thiel Says She's 2020 Democrat He Is 'Most Scared By'

07.17 The American Right Defines Patriotism As Complacency About Racism

07.17 This is what today's America looks like. The squad is us

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07.19 UN urged to act over 'purge' of Turkey's lawyers by Erdogan

07.19 DOJ Releases Strong Evidence of Trump’s Campaign Finance Violations But No Explanation of No Charges [The statement]

07.16 Contempt [Variations of frequent loss & theft of property title by organized legal efforts against black owners]

07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]

07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]

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07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]

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07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

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07.19 U.N.'s Bachelet says Congresswomen opposing Trump are 'fantastic'

07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]

07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]

07.18 Foreign purchases of American homes plunge 36% as Chinese buyers flee the market

07.18 There are 16 million slaves around the world making our stuff

07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]

07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]

07.17 Trump Murdered the Iran Deal—And Europe Isn’t Too Happy About It [Only psychopathic Saudi Arabia and Russia are U.S. ’allies’ now...]

07.17 Trump’s Unlawful Asylum Policy Is a Jab at Mexico

07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

07.15 India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]

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  The GOP's 'Era of Apologizing'
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COMMENTARY:

The GOP's 'Era of Apologizing'

by Robert Parry
Originally published on 22 May 2009

Republican National Chairman Michael Steele says "the era of apologizing for Republican mistakes of the past is now officially over." But that must have been a very brief “era,” since it’s hard to remember any significant mistakes that the GOP has owned up to – except perhaps that George W. Bush wasn’t right-wing enough.

Instead, leading Republicans – and right-wing pundits – have engaged in a steady campaign of defending almost every controversial action of the Bush years, including torture of detainees, a war of aggression in Iraq, disregard of constitutional rights, failure to address global warming, massive tax cuts for the rich, the absence of financial regulation, etc., etc.

Nor has the Republican Party apologized for its ugly chip-on-the-shoulder tone and divisive tactics. It continues to exploit “wedge issues” designed to split the nation, now focusing on “gay marriage” as the party earlier relied on the “Southern strategy” to attract white voters upset about civil rights for blacks.

The GOP also won’t stop its extreme rhetoric. Its national committee even contemplated demanding that the Democratic Party change its name to the “Democrat Socialist Party” – though the idea was ultimately rejected.

In recent weeks, a GOP governor in Texas mused about secession and pro-Republican hosts at Fox News bantered about armed insurrection. One such host, Glenn Beck, has accused the Obama administration of engaging in “progressive fascism” because of its efforts to restructure and save the U.S. auto industry.

The only noticeable “apologizing” on the Republican side has been about Bush violating conservative precepts against government spending and federal debt, although the GOP enthusiastically supports higher military spending and rejects any tax increase that might reduce the ballooning deficit.

Instead of an “era of apologizing,” most Americans have witnessed continuation of the long era of the unapologetic Republican, now epitomized by former Vice President Dick Cheney who is on a speaking tour defending every excess of Bush’s “war on terror."

In Cheney’s May 21 speech to the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, he also deployed the same sneering tone – common to the modern Republican – in demeaning critics, including President Barack Obama, along the lines of the old right-wing caricature of liberals as “blame-America-firsters.”

Cheney derided the common-sense claim made by Obama and many other Americans (including senior military commanders) that the images of the Guantanamo Bay prison and the mistreatment of “war on terror” suspects have helped al-Qaeda and other extremist groups recruit more terrorists:

“This recruitment-tool theory has become something of a mantra lately, including from the President himself. And after a familiar fashion, it excuses the violent and blames America for the evil that others do. It's another version of that same old refrain from the Left. We brought it on ourselves.”

Nixon’s Legacy

Cheney’s intolerant tone, of course, is nothing new to Americans who lived through the eight years of the Bush administration – or for that matter who have listened to Republican rhetoric dating back at least to Richard Nixon, whose Vice President Spiro Agnew dismissed Vietnam War critics as “nattering nabobs of negativism” while Nixon called anti-war students “bums.”

The Watergate political spying scandal – and the resignations of Agnew and Nixon – offered the Republicans a chance to change course. They could have repudiated Nixon’s imperial theories and his belligerent style. They could have committed themselves to traditional American constitutional principles and begun treating adversaries with respect.

However, by the late 1970s, with the enlistment of the clever neoconservatives and the launching of a right-wing media infrastructure to wage a “war of ideas,” the Republicans opted for a different lesson from the Watergate scandal: make sure you have the capability to cover up.

For the last three decades, the Republicans, the neocons and their right-wing media allies have run roughshod over the American political system.

They did virtually whatever they wanted, ignoring laws (e.g. the Iran-Contra scandal); flooding the public with propaganda (what they called “perception management”); running dirty political campaigns (see Lee Atwater, 1988); engaging in sleazy scandal-mongering (hounding Bill Clinton in the 1990s); getting away with election theft (Bush v. Gore, 2000); spreading fear (post-9/11 rhetoric); restoring the Imperial Presidency (George W. Bush’s secret legal theories); plotting for a one-party state (Karl Rove’s “permanent Republican majority”); and more.

Dick Cheney, whose career spanned nearly the entirety of this modern GOP, is now mounting a vigorous defense of these Republican tendencies, essentially advocating the replacement of a constitutional Republic (founded on the principles of individual liberties and the rule of law) with a national security state based on fear, smears and a selective rendering of history.

His May 21 speech, which directly followed an address on terrorism by President Obama, was a classic in the genre of presenting your opponents as cowardly buffoons and ignoring all evidence of your own mistakes.

For instance, when Cheney’s referred to al-Qaeda and A.Q. Khan, the Pakistan nuclear physicist credited with building the “Islamic bomb,” Cheney might have noted that he was part of the Republican leadership in the 1980s that turned a blind eye to Khan’s nuclear work in exchange for Pakistan’s cooperation in shipping U.S. weapons to Islamic extremists in Afghanistan, including a young Osama bin Laden.

Cheney might have cited how his own excessive concern about what was then a rapidly deteriorating Soviet Union helped create the danger of al-Qaeda terrorism, which is made dramatically worse by the existence of a nuclear arsenal in Pakistan.

In referring to Saddam Hussein, Cheney could have noted how Republican icon Ronald Reagan funneled covert support to the Iraqi strongman – including precursor materials for chemical and biological warfare – in another misguided American intrusion into Middle Eastern affairs.

Or when Cheney talked about people “with known ties to Mideast terrorists,” he might have noted how the Reagan administration conspired with terrorist elements in Lebanon and shipped missiles to Iran – then deemed a terrorist state – or how U.S. governments have long supported right-wing terrorists operating across Latin America. [See Secrecy & Privilege.]

Cheney also might have acknowledged how George W. Bush and his top aides pooh-poohed warnings from the Clinton administration and from the CIA about the threat from al-Qaeda in the months leading up to 9/11.

Times Bashing

When Cheney bashed the New York Times for exposing the warrantless wiretap program in December 2005, he again demonstrated how imbalanced and unfair his complaints could be. He accused the Times of “publishing secrets in a way that could only help al-Qaeda,” and added:

“It impressed the Pulitzer committee, but it damn sure didn’t serve the interests of our country or the safety of our people.”

Though it’s still a cheap applause line on the Right to kick the New York Times, Cheney was unfair to suggest that the warrantless wiretap story was illegitimate. By any standards, it raised important legal and constitutional questions -- even within Bush's own Justice Department.

Plus, the Bush administration never presented a plausible explanation for why the Times’ sketchy account of the program was harmful to national security, since al-Qaeda operatives were surely aware that their communications were the target of U.S. intelligence.

Besides that, Cheney didn’t mention how much assistance the New York Times had given to the Bush administration for its war policies.

In 2002, Cheney favorably cited the Times' bogus story about Iraq importing aluminum tubes for nuclear centrifuges, a tale that helped sell the case for the invasion. Nor did Cheney note how the Times had suppressed the wiretap story for more than a year at the administration’s behest.

Even on the morning of Cheney’s speech, the Times was hyping a dubious report from the Bush administration’s Defense Department about how one in seven released Guantanamo prisoners supposedly “returned” to terrorist activities. Cheney approvingly cited the leak but not the newspaper that published it. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Helps the Bushies, Again.”]

But Cheney, the neocons and their right-wing cohorts have never been about making a full and fair presentation of the facts to the American people. They have been about manipulating the American people with selective information mixed with combinations of fear and tough talk.

Mocking Legal Principles

For Cheney and similar authoritarians, American principles of justice are not something to have pride in, but rather silly inconveniences that only effete and foolish liberals would care about. For instance, in his speech, Cheney made this comment about the alleged 9/11 mastermind:

“Maybe you've heard that when we captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he said he would talk as soon as he got to New York City and saw his lawyer. But like many critics of interrogations, he clearly misunderstood the business at hand.”

Instead of being afforded basic legal rights or even humane treatment, “KSM” was subjected to forced nudity, long periods of sleep deprivation, painful stress positions and the near-drowning of waterboarding at least 183 times. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross and every other objective observer, he was tortured.

However, in Cheney’s world – where information is selective, principles are a la carte, and words are malleable – the treatment of KSM and other “high-value detainees” wasn’t “torture.”

“Torture was never permitted,” Cheney said. “And the methods were given careful legal review before they were approved. Interrogators had authoritative guidance on the line between toughness and torture, and they knew to stay on the right side of it.”

Cheney went on to accuse the administration’s critics of “feigned outrage based on a false narrative” about torture, adding:

“Intelligence officers of the United States were not trying to rough up some terrorists simply to avenge the dead of 9/11. ... But in the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half-exposed.”

In other words, Cheney is advocating an anything-goes mentality that appeals to some fearful Americans who put their personal safety ahead of everything else, but Cheney’s viewpoint understandably alarms many others who believe that terrorism can be combated without throwing away more than two centuries of U.S. legal traditions.

Those Americans include many traditional conservatives, like former Reagan administration lawyer Bruce Fein, who said recently: “Part of being a Republic is to accept some risk. ... When we try to eliminate all risk then we end up losing the Republic.”

Yet, instead of taking pride in the fact that even a brutal enemy like KSM expected legal and humane treatment from his American captors, Cheney spit out the words about KSM wanting a lawyer like a punch line from one of Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” movies.

Cheney’s word games, elastic principles and extremism also don’t stand alone.

Those attitudes have become central to the modern Republican Party, where you can find dozens of leaders over the past few decades who have demonstrated a similar contempt for the underpinnings of a democratic Republic, one that is founded on the rule of law and respect for human rights.

There is a lot for the GOP to apologize for – and contrary to Michael Steele’s comment, the era of Republican apologizing is not over. Indeed it has not begun.


Robert ParryRobert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.

This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on May 24, 2009.

 

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